Technology / #ForbesTechnology

April 18, 2017,   4:29 PM

Middle East Consumers Are Willing To Trade Doctors For Robots, Survey Shows

Forbes Middle East


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A recent survey is showing that Middle Eastern consumers are notably willing to replace humans doctors with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots in order to fulfill their healthcare needs.

Carried out by the multinational professional services network Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), the survey of over 11,000 people in 12 countries found that that 55% of respondents in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) are willing to swap human doctors for robots and artificial intelligence.

The percentage in Middle Eastern countries was even higher, reaching 66% of respondents in Saudi Arabia, 65% in Qatar and 62% in the UAE.

“When you combine clinical workforce shortages in the Middle East, with more positive factors like a young, digitally minded population that, according to our survey, is willing to adopt AI and robotics, PwC thinks the Middle East could leapfrog other countries in these technologies,” Dr. Tim Wilson, Middle East Health Industries Leader at PwC, says.

One of the main benefits sought by willing respondents were the accessibility to healthcare (36% of overall respondents), as well as the accuracy and speed of potential diagnosis (33%).

Even when it comes to having robots perform minor surgeries, willingness of Middle East respondents, 50% in the UAE, 55% in Saudi Arabia and Qatar were in favor of the swap. The percentage slightly slumped when it came to their approval of robots carrying out more sophisticated surgeries like replacing certain organs or removing tumors.

The survey showed that consumers in developed countries who enjoy more reliable and complicated healthcare systems showed less willingness in opting for artificial intelligence as a source of serving their medical needs.

[caption id="attachment_22944" align="alignnone" width="610"]chart Percentage of respondents willing/unwilling to engage with AI and robotics for their healthcare needs (by country)[/caption]

Respondents from the United Kingdom, Western and Northern Europe who are willing to resort to artificial intelligence came last in the list of respondents by country, with only 39% of British consumers willing to resort to medical artificial intelligence and 41% of respondents in Germany.

A staggering 96% of respondents in Nigeria topped the list of willingness to adopt medical artificial intelligence and robot doctors.

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